Outdoor Learning Adventures

September 17, 2009

The Boston learning adventure
required organisation turned out to be rather a lot of fun. More importantly I think it provided a number of ideas that can be utilised in hte design of

to explore approaches to nudge learners out of chairs away from screen and into parks to develop active and purposeful learning experiences away from the classroom / or in this case the hotel conference room
to explore the potential of layering activities providing access at different levels so all could contribute regardless of expertise
to provide opportunity y that was not dependent on the personal devices owned by the group

in our group of 11 split to two groups of 5 and 6 there were two delegates without phones, eight various devices and one i Phone

Building a multi-layered learning adventure in a Boston Park
(don’t call it a geocache it will scare off more than it will attract)


first decision I made after a few walks through the park was to focus the first learning task on looking at the wonderful range of trees – a magniificent stand of elms (yes elms) bordering the north side , two rather magnificent ginkos and a statuesque Chinese redwood..the list goes on. Each group had to bring back positive identification / either leaf or picture of three tree types that were new to them. Obviously any notable physical object or location could be used in the same fashion.

to focus attention on the trees I made QR codes to stick on the tree trunk of four trees in the park. Six different codes were generated andeach one held a sURL that linked to a separate page of a Wiki with pictures of a particular part of the Apollo 11 Moon mission. Each group had downloaded a free reader for QR codes which works by using the built in camera in a mobile phone (links for Berquerel etc here – enter your phone number and it sends you link to a reader app if one is available for your phone model. Various readers were downloaded and most worked well. The QR codes (pic are also known as 2D Barcodes and 3D barcodes are also available in the form of Microsoft TAGs these are colorful dot like – hold more info and also allow data tracking via the TAG website (address) It is also possible to overlay the Microsoft TAG as a series of dots on a picture so that the data is available but is barely noticeable – something I’ll be trialling shortly.

I made TAGS for Microsoft and QR codes and put the QR codes on the trees. The Microsoft TAGs were placed in old 35mm film cannisters along with some props to help carry out the activity suggested. Each of the two learning journeys had three way points where there were labels posted and cannisters hidden.

urban earth pictures ?????
took pictures on their phones or cameras
http://www.whrrl.com a useful way of doing this in the future particularly as they allow for further group annotation and reflection afterwards, perhaps as part of a group review.

For each point on the journey the cannister contained resources a little bit of plasticine ( each group had already been fiven some card , felt tis a scissors and a compass (some cluses at the waypoint involved direct geographical fixes (5 yards due north of the statues cane) Each group mentiopned the value of using the compass alongside GPS machines to cement navigation skills at a simple

I suggested walking a triangle and demonstrated in park later (illustration here walk north 20 paces walk west 20 paces walk south east 20 paces)

11 delegates were divided into two groups one entering through north of par oppostire the Cheers bar (site of the inspiration for the long runing bar-room sit com – the group took their pcitures at the sign before commencing the task.

Using the mission designer (pic) part of the gps mission web site I had made a walk for the North and SOuth groups but as only one delegate had a phone that could run the free software the northern group were instructed to entrer the park at the middle entrance and find a Chinese Redwood! In other words verbal clues can replace digital tech to little ill effect.

The southerly group had one iPhone so they chose the Plaza to park adventure I had designed for that activity and this provided cluses to take them to the ginko biloba near the south west? entrance.

Once at their first target tree both groups scannes the QR codes and accessed their respective web oage with guidance as to their first location challenge – s1 was filming the liftoff n1 was the sea of tranquility

tried to represent my impression of the two groups activty as a series of dots on the illustration below

thsanks to for the heads up on QR codes


A front desk at a Swedish School

October 31, 2006

IMG_0863, originally uploaded by john.davitt.

The front desk at the school is a refectory bar ‘so that all visitors see a human’ as they enter says the architect Kenneth G√§rdestad. This pictures was taken at Kunskapsskolan Nyk√∂ping 5th October 2006. In Flickr it bears the TAG ideafromschool just imagine if everyone (and their brother) posted a pic of an idea (something which requires thought?) that they saw or did in school. Something good that is of course of maybe not? We can learn from bad ideas too perhaps. Click on picture to go to Flickr and explore the notes and annotations that I’ve added to the picture